Sunday, September 28, 2008

Grimes Point Archaeological Area Trail, NV

As I returned home from work about a week ago, I found the 'Family Pulse' magazine lying on our driveway. It wasn't half-bad. I actually read a lot of it (which means it must be pretty good, I rarely read freebie magazines and papers).

It had an article about petroglyphs in Nevada, highlighting Grimes Point Archaeological Area (a National Recreation Trail [whatever that really means]).

So Saturday morning as we were trying to decide what to do, we decided to check the site out.

Our hour long drive brought us to the deserted site, just 100 yards off of Highway US50. It was really well designed, with a gazebo providing much needed shade, petroglyph themed seating, picnic benches, and restrooms.

Just in the short time that we were there, half-a-dozen cars from various western states stopped for the bathroom. Some people even took the short natural trail to the petroglyphs. If it weren't for that bathroom, the place would be largely unappreciated.

The trail is in excellent condition -- Tucker's stroller did just fine. While the trail would only take 10 minutes to walk (with kids), the self-guided tour signs give you the opportunity to stop and admire the history of the area. The entire area had been hundreds of feet underwater at one point, which explains the weird (and fairly ugly) terrain of the valley. The petroglyphs are believed to be thousands of years old, which leaves their purposes and inteprations largely a mistery.

Afterwords, Carson and I were able to have a good talk about what life must have been like at that time and how blessed we are. After naming many of the comforts and possessions that we have, I asked him, "What did the Indians have?"

His response: "Rocks." It made me laugh.

The excursions that we have being going on have really opened up a lot of 'teaching moments' with Carson and been fun for our family.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Fallon NV Car Show

On our way to Grimes Point National Archaeological Area, we stopped to get some food in Fallon, NV and noticed a small car show. We stopped to admire some really nice newer and classic cars. It looked like there were more trophies to award than cars! Their wannabe Elvis band made us think that the whole car show was a wannabe Hot August Nights. Only, it would have to be called Warm September Afternoons. Despite it all, the community spirit was nice to see.

Across the street, you could see the local hospital, with a nearly deserted parking lot. It was weird to see so few cars. Doesn't anyone get sick or hurt in this town?

The Fallon Tribal Police had a booth at the car show and Carson got some candy, a Frisbee, and a police badge sticker, which he gladly wore for the rest of our adventure.

Carson Still Potty Training

How do you motivate an unmotivated potty trainee? That discussion has continued for several weeks. We ordered a free 'Pull-Ups' potty training movie; it had some good ideas. Angela also sent an email to the members of the club formerly known as the "Sparks Mom's Club" (that's a story in itself). They had excellent suggestions too.

Armed with our credit card, we raided the kids section of Walmart. We got Pixar 'Cars' movie posters and toy cars, every kind of sticker a little boy could like, glow sticks and some other small toys.

There is now a poster in each of Carson's bathrooms . Just for sitting on the potty, he gets to choose a sticker that he can put on a poster. He loves to see the sticker covered posters and is doing great! The bathroom has become 'his' own place. Additionally, if there are large successes, he gets to choose a toy car or other toy.

Yesterday, we drove quite a bit; so we put him in Pull-Ups. He was able to hold it really well and to use the bathrooms as we went. So he got to choose a toy from our stockpile.

Although I have to add that even though he likes to get the cars as prizes, they don't seem to be the solution in getting him motivated; he's still having accidents. If anything, our instructions are sinking in slowly, very slowly.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Galena Creek, Reno, NV

Angela took a much needed movie break this afternoon. So Carson, Tucker and I had a few hours to burn. Tucker has a definite preference for Angela, making 'just the boys' time intimidating.

So what do you do with a busted-up shoulder, cracked ribs, and two young children?

We had no clue. We took off driving with no real destination and found ourselves at Galena Creek Park -- a beautiful pine and juniper forest at the base of the mountains to Lake Tahoe. We hiked to the cool, clear, fresh water creek. The rushing water crashed down the mountain into the boulders in it's bed, filling the air with the soothing comfort Tucker needed to lull him to sleep.

Carson loved our little hike to the stream, so we extended it to the half mile nature trail. Mother Nature filled the air with birds chirping and water roaring. The trail lead us through moderately steep rocky ascents, giving Carson the challenge that he needed. As we continued, the serenity was destroyed by a nearby house, too occupied with an outdoor party to realize that the music was way too loud -- how irritating!

Carson loved the adventure and Tucker seemed to enjoy the change. Maybe 'just the boys' time will be a little less intimidating next time.

All of that and we arrived home before Angela's movie had ended. Reno definitely has its perks.


I finally went to a doctor today. Overall, good news.

The diagnosis:
Minor rotator cuff damage in my left shoulder
Possibly a couple of broken ribs on my right side

He suggested x-rays for the ribs, but as he admitted, it is kind of pointless since they can't treat it. I really don't like getting x-rays, especially of the chest. So we didn't do any x-rays.

Anyways, it just needs some time.

Who knows how I injured both sides of my body? I don't remember the actual fall. My first memory is of me lying on my left side, but somehow my right side took a beating too.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Carson's Pirate Ship

After my dirt-bike crash, I wasn't sure if I would be able to work with Carson on the Lowe's Kids Workshop project. He convinced me otherwise.

Carson and I arrived at Lowe's a little too late; they were already cleaning up. Fortunately, they gave us a kit to build at home. Since they had already given him his very own tiny kid's hammer, he was all set to build a pirate ship.

He is getting better and better at building things. This project took no time at all and looks really good. He's looking forward to bath time with it.

The Inevitable Crash

After selling my streetbike (mostly due to safety concerns), I had to take my dirt-bike for a ride.
It was a great ride, with perfect weather, beautiful wild horses and birds, and inevitably (or is it, ironically), there was a crash. I rarely crash, and when I do, it seldom causes injury. I wear full-body motorcycle armor, so I figured it'd be pretty safe.

I hit a rock that sent me crashing into the ground. While I don't know exactly how it happened, I found myself lying on the ground near my motorcycle. After a few seconds, the motorcycle shut off and started leaking gasoline. I figured I'd better pick it up, so it would stop leaking -- but I couldn't get up!

It's a strange feeling, thinking: "I should get up", but then not being able to. After a couple of attempts, ending with me lying on the ground right where I started, I decided I could wait a few moments.

Finally, the pain subsided enough for me to assess my injuries. I figured it was safe to roll over and try to get up again. This time, with considerable pain, I got up.

My left arm was basically unusable and my ribs were aching. Normally, it's tough to pick up a motorcycle; with one arm and a lot of pain, it's a lot tougher. Eventually, I got it up and was back riding. I couldn't get my left arm to the handlebars without picking it up with my other arm. Every bump caused a surge of pain.

After a long and painful ride home, I took a look at the armor. That stuff is amazing! I can tell it took a beating, but it is still very usable and I'm in excellent shape (given the circumstances). My heavy woven-nylon pants had a small tear and gouges in some of the plastic armor. The upper body gear had minor nicks. I think I tore up some muscle in my upper arm / shoulder area and got a few bruises on my ribs and legs. I hardly even lost any blood.

Overall, I give the armor an A+. I never would have come out of the crash so well without it.

Heres the gear that I ride with:
Sidi SRS Crossfire boots
Fox Yamaha 360 racing pants
Fox Yamaha SFS racing jersey
Thor Impact Rig SE
Oakley Crowbar Pro Goggles
Shoei Helmet
(I hope to get an Arai helmet and some knee braces soon)

Here's a picture of the Thor Impact Rig. It keeps cool, doesn't reduce flexibility, and saves you from a beating:

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Parting Ways: Eulogy for my Kawasaki Z1000

Today, a major separation occurred within our family: I sold my street motorcycle.

Yeah, I know, it's not that big of a deal. But it is a little sad. I've had a street bike since I was 19 years old. My street bike got me through college, or at least, to college (although it typically got me there late, if at all). I have loved riding. Sometimes while riding, it even felt as though I was flying -- there was nothing between me and the ground. My motorcycle provided a sense of freedom and excitement, a connection to my youth.

But, at 5:30am on my way to work, it also provided a sense of freezing and a sense of drowsiness that made me a little uneasy.

The bike's final doom came when several friends of friends died on motorcycles this summer. Not exactly what a young family needs (no, Angela did not force nor encourage me to sell the bike).


I still have my dirt bike, which I consider to be much more fun and challenging; it even provides exercise. So my youth isn't totally dead.

Here is a stock picture of my former 2003 Kawasaki Z1000:

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Tucker's LDS Baby Blessing

I hope that we always remember Sunday's sweet experiences -- Tucker received his 'Baby Blessing' in the church.

The Spirit is always so strong on such spritual occasions, but much more so when it is your own child.

Grandma and Grandpa Knight, and Great Grandma Knight joined us and our congregation for the occasion.

Potty Training

Among the most dreaded events of parenthood: potty training.

We took it head-on this weekend with Carson. We were committed. No diapers (except for night time -- we weren't that committed).

1. Nine pair of cartoon character underwear -- featuring Thomas the Train, Buzz Lightyear, Lightning McQueen and other characters from the Pixar movie "Cars", and Wall-E.
2. New Mickey Mouse watch for Carson (Mom and Dad don't like to wear watches, so Carson get's to)
3. An empty schedule and lots of patience and excitement

Carson was so excited by the new underwear and watch. As his 30 minute timer chimed; he anxiously ran to the bathroom.

There were a few minor accidents, but overall, it was a great success!

Beware: if you attempt this technique, random beeps can lead to bathroom trips. While at my parent's house for dinner, the microwave beeped and Carson ran to the bathroom. It took us a while to realize what had happened, but it was pretty funny.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Don't Shoot!

BOOM! BOOM! Around the corner of the brush enshrouded dirt road stood a lone man wielding a loaded shotgun. I slowed, questioning my next step; hoping I had a next step.

I pressed on, directly towards him. Nothing would stop me, not even him; I was committed.

As our determined eyes met, he said it: "Hi". His hunting vest read "Ducks Unlimited".

What was he doing??? He could kill someone. Who knows? One of those shots that I heard could have been aimed at me as he caught his first glimpse of motion through the tall brush.

OK. I admit, this narration over dramatizes the event. But it still was pretty spooky.

Despite the 'incident', the ride was fun. I haven't been on the motorcycle for quite a while; I always look forward to getting out and getting some exercise. The hills and wild horses were gorgeous. There was a light-tan baby horse with a blond mane that look amazing. From the top of one of the hills, I caught a view of the Reno Hot Air Balloon Races. That area of the sky was lit up with colorful balloons.

Football Season

To kick off football season (which Angela and I cannot stand), Carson and I went to the Home Depot Kid's Workshop to build this month's project: Goal Posts.

Carson is getting so good at building things. This one required a screwdriver, glue, and a hammer. He was amazingly good; perhaps a little overzealous with the glue, but good nonetheless.

People could not help but comment as Carson walked around the store in his little Home Depot apron.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Drench Toast

My time to vent about french toast woes. I really love french toast - when it is made right. French toast should be called 'Drench Toast' because you are supposed to drench the pieces of bread in the egg/milk mixture before frying them up. I had some pretty dry french toast at our Black Bear breakfast yesterday; it was like I was eating normal bread that was covered in scrambled egg, with syrup. Not good. They described it so well in their menu, "3 thick slices of sourdough dipped in egg and fried to perfection", or something like that. I'm mainly posting this thought so i can remember not to order french toast again. I was jipped. And again, Carson got the better meal.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Staycation Day 4 -- Callahan Park and Thomas Creek, Reno, NV

* Callahan Park
* Thomas Creek
* Claim Jumper Restaurant

Lessons learned on our staycation:
* It's possible to have a relaxing time with a three year old and 1 month old
* The Reno / Sparks area is full of picturesque destinations
* With a little planning, staying around the Reno / Sparks area can be at least as relaxing as a conventional vacation
* Kids' meals are better than adults meals

These lessons really became apparent as we arrived at Callahan Park in the Galena Forest. It is a gorgeous park on the fringe of town, nestled in the trees with an ice cold mountain stream running through. The emerald green grass fields with pine-shaded benches provide an ideal view of the play equipment.

Why don't all parks have Merry-Go-Rounds? I haven't been on one in ages. We all loved spinning around on it. Even Tucker calmed down a while he was on it.

Although we live in a desert, there are a surprising amount of streams and lakes nearby. Just down the road from Callahan Park (and Galena Creek) is Thomas Creek. It is another great getaway. Carson and I did some 'mountain biking' in the dirt parking lot next to the shaded stream.

We finished off our staycation eating at Claim Jumper. The food was excellent, but we saved some room so that we could turn this monstrous eclair:

Into this:

Monday, September 1, 2008

Staycation Day 3 -- Virginia City, NV

* Visit St. Mary's of the Mountains Catholic church
* Ride the Truckee & Virginia Train
* Tour the Virginia City -- watch the Labor Day parade
* Relax at home

Kids change you in so many ways. With Tucker and Carson, our family wakes up early. Virginia City was just waking up as we arrived. Fortunately, the Catholic church was open. It is gorgeous inside. We sat in a pew for a few minutes to take it in. Carson was so excited when he first saw the 'Castle'. Its classic Gothic architecture is amazing -- almost startling in this semi-run-down historic mining town.

Just a short walk down the road is the Virginia & Truckee Railroad station. As Carson sees it, trains are second only to cars. He loves them and knows all of the 'Thomas the Train' characters by name. As the train pulled into the station, Carson jumped up and down exlaiming: "It's coming! It's coming!" He absolutely loved the ride.

After the ride, we enjoyed a good lunch and the Virginia City Labor Day Parade. They put on quite a show. The civil war re-enactment was a really interesting touch. You forget that Virginia City was booming at that point and that Nevada played a role in the civil war.

We finished off our stay with some shopping and lots of sweets from Grandma's Fudge Shop (apparently, Grandma likes to listen to heavy metal music).

Our day closed with 'Nim's Island' on our home theater; the movie wasn't very impressive, but a relaxing end to a nice day.